Commons News

REMINDER to enter the Why Open Education Matters video competition

Timothy Vollmer, April 30th, 2012

In March, Creative Commons, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Open Society Institute launched the Why Open Education Matters Video Competition. The goal of the competition is to raise awareness of Open Educational Resources (OER) and solicit short, creative videos that help explain what Open Educational Resources are and how they can be beneficial for teachers, students, and schools everywhere around the world.

There’s been lots of interest in the competition, and we wanted to remind you that the deadline to submit your video is June 5, 2012. The contest is open to all, and submissions can come from non-U.S. citizens. Nonprofits, schools, and companies may also enter a video, and you can work in teams. Please check out the website for all the information you need.

The first prize is $25,000 and the second prize is $5,000. We’ve lined up some great judges to help award these prizes, including Nina Paley, Davis Guggenheim, and James Franco. There will also be a $1,000 Community Choice Award in which the public will be able to cast their vote for their favorite video.

Again, video submissions must be received by June 5 on http://whyopenedmatters.org (look for the “Submit a Video” button). We’re eating our own dog food too–any video that is submitted must be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license so that it can be freely used and shared by anyone to help explain Open Educational Resources. Please jump in and share your creative video-making skills to explain and promote OER. Roll camera!

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Data Journalism Handbook to launch under CC BY-SA

Jane Park, April 26th, 2012

This Saturday’s International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy will unveil a months-long collaborative effort — the Data Journalism Handbook, a free, CC BY-SA licensed book to help journalists find and use data for better news reporting.

Open data
Data Journalism Handbook – Cover Mockup / jwyg / CC BY-SA

A joint initiative of the European Journalism Centre and the Open Knowledge Foundation, the collaborative book effort was kicked off at the 2011 Mozilla Festival: Media, Freedom and the Web — which gathered reporters, data journalism practitioners, advocates, and journalism and related organizations from around the globe. Over three days, participants researched, wrote, and edited chapters of the handbook. Contributors include the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC, the Chicago Tribune, Deutsche Welle, the Guardian, the Financial Times, La Nacion, The New York Times, ProPublica, The Washington Post, and many others — including Creative Commons. Creative Commons contributed to various pieces of the “Getting Data” section, including “Using and Sharing Data: the Black Letter, Fine Print, and Reality.” You can preview the outline here.

From the announcement,

Now more than ever, journalists need to know how to work with data. From covering public spending to elections, the Wikileaks cables to the financial crisis – journalists need to know where to find and request key datasets, how to make sense of them, and how to present them to the public.

Jonathan Gray, lead editor for the handbook, says: “The book gives us an unprecedented, behind-the-scenes look at how data is used by journalists around the world – from big news organisations to citizen reporters. We hope it will serve to inform and inspire a new generation of data journalists to use the information around us to communicate complex and important issues to the public.

You can sign up to get the handbook when it goes live at http://www.datajournalismhandbook.org. The entire handbook will be available for free under CC BY-SA, with an alternative printed version and e-book to be published by O’Reilly Media.

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Seeking Project Coordinator for Science and Data

Jane Park, April 25th, 2012


Open Science Logo / gemmerich / CC BY-SA

Creative Commons is seeking a Project Coordinator for Science and Data! The Project Coordinator will organize, coordinate and manage projects related to data policy and governance and perform research and analysis on data governance topics across relevant sectors — particularly for science — and communicate results and recommendations from the project via writing and related outreach.

We are looking for someone who is experienced in policy analysis, development and processes, in addition to Open Source Software, Open Access/Open Data and other Open content projects. A science and/or legal background with international experience is highly desirable — especially as the position will be representing Creative Commons at global events in the Open Data and Open Science communities! See the job posting and apply at our opportunities page.

We will stop accepting applications after 11:59 p.m. PDT, May 25, 2012.

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Government and Library Open Data using Creative Commons tools

Jane Park, April 24th, 2012

The last few months has seen a growth in open data, particularly from governments and libraries. Among the more recent open data adopters are the Austrian government, Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research, Italian Chamber of Deputies, and Harvard Library.

Open data
Open data / opensourceway / CC BY-SA

The Austrian government has launched an open data portal with much of its data available under CC BY. The portal’s terms of use states that CC BY is recommended for open data, and that such data will be indicated as CC BY in the data description.

The Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research launched its Open Data Portal under CC BY, publishing the data of Italian schools (such as address, phone number, web site, administrative code), students (number, gender, performance), and teachers (number, gender, retirement, etc.). The Ministry aims to make all of its data eventually available and open for reuse, in order to improve transparency, aid in the understanding of the Italian scholastic system, and promote the creation of new tools and services for students, teachers and families.

The Italian Chamber of Deputies has also developed a platform for publishing linked open data under CC BY-SA.

Lastly, Harvard Library in the U.S. has released 12 million catalog records into the public domain using the CC0 public domain dedication tool. The move is in accordance with Harvard Library’s Open Metadata Policy. The policy’s FAQ states,

“With the CC0 public domain designation, Harvard waives any copyright and related rights it holds in the metadata. We believe that this will help foster wide use and yield developments that will benefit the library community and the public.”

Harvard’s press release cites additional motivations for opening its data,

John Palfrey, Chair of the DPLA, said, “With this major contribution, developers will be able to start experimenting with building innovative applications that put to use the vital national resource that consists of our local public and research libraries, museums, archives and cultural collections.” He added that he hoped that this would encourage other institutions to make their own collection metadata publicly available.

We are excited that CC tools are being used for open data. For questions related to CC and data, see our FAQ about data, which also links to many more governments, libraries, and organizations that have opened their data.

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Swiss 3.0 Creative Commons licenses now available

Aurelia J. Schultz, April 16th, 2012

Switzerland Team @ Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta
Switzerland Team @ Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta / kevinpoch / CC BY

We are proud to announce the launch of the Creative Commons 3.0 Switzerland ported license suite. Huge thanks to Mélanie Bosshart, Phillip Perreaux, Simon Schlauri, Hartwig Thomas and the rest of the CC Switzerland team for their hard work and dedication in perfecting the Swiss ported licenses.

You can access the new licenses through our license chooser and learn more about the CC Switzerland team at their website.

As mentioned in our announcements of the Ireland 3.0 licenses and the Uganda 3.0 public discussion, CC is working to finish a small number of ongoing 3.0 ports while pushing ahead with the public discussion on the 4.0 licenses. These involve six long-running porting projects that CC committed to completing in 2011.

We encourage all teams and community members to participate in the 4.0 drafting process. You can view the first draft of the 4.0 CC BY-NC-SA license at http://wiki.creativecommons.org/4.0_Drafts.

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Announcing the Liberated Pixel Cup: an epic contest for gaming freedom

Chris Webber, April 11th, 2012

Liberated Pixel Cup banner

We’re pleased to announce the launch of the Liberated Pixel Cup, a free-as-in-freedom game authoring competition being launched in cooperation between Creative Commons, the Free Software Foundation, and OpenGameArt!

Liberated Pixel Cup outdoor example artwork
Liberated Pixel Cup example outdoor artwork / Lanea Zimmerman / CC BY-SA 3.0

Liberated Pixel Cup is a two-part competition: make a bunch of awesome free culture licensed artwork, and program a bunch of free software games that use it. Hopefully many cool projects can come out of this… but that will only happen if people like you get involved!

Technically the project will run in three phases. One of the major goals of the project is for the community to be able to produce content that’s stylistically consistent. To that end, “phase zero” of the project is to produce a style guide that people can work off to produce content that meshes together nicely, something along the lines of what the Tango style guide does for icons. We’ve been working with a few excellent artists to commission a base example set to build the style guide out of, and we’re fairly thrilled with where things are going!

Liberated Pixel Cup outdoor example artwork
Liberated Pixel Cup example indoor artwork / Lanea Zimmerman / CC BY-SA 3.0

And this is where you come in: “Phase one” of the competition will then be building artwork that matches that guide that should then be uploaded to OpenGameArt and dual licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 and GPLv3. This part of the project will run from June 1st through June 30th. “Phase two” of this competition will be building GPLv3 or later games that incorporate artwork from the artwork building phase of the project. People can work in teams or individually, and this portion of the contest will run from July 1st through July 31st.

Afterwards will be judging entries and handing out awards. We’re planning on giving out some prizes for both the content building and the game programming phases. To see more details about all this, check out the rules page.

We’re very proud to be working on this collaboration with OpenGameArt, but especially the Free Software Foundation, a true ally of ours in the quest for user freedom in all domains. And it seems that feeling is mutual:

The FSF is happy to join with our peers and support this contest. We’re already excited about the new free software games that will come out of it — not only because we like games, but because this is an area that is still very much in the grips of proprietary software companies using nasty Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), and an area holding back free software adoption for many users.
– John Sullivan, Executive Director of the Free Software Foundation

We think Liberated Pixel Cup is a great opportunity for the commons in many ways! Right now it’s hard to find free culture content to bootstrap games that match a consistent style and hard for artists to collaborate on such. We’re also very interested in areas where free software and free culture directly intersect, which we don’t always see enough of (and which sometimes can even get a bit complex, so it’s good to have opportunities to think about them when we can), and games are a great example of this overlap. We hope you’ll participate!

And on that note, there’s several things we’d like to fund with this project. First of all, we’d like to pay the artists that have we’ve commissioned for this style guide actual money, as laying down a set of fundamentals for the artwork is a lot of serious work. Second, we’d like to be able to do cool things like give out prizes for people who win the various stages of the competition.

To that end, we’re trying to raise some money for the Liberated Pixel Cup. So please help make that happen, and donate today!

About Creative Commons

Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org) is a globally-focused nonprofit organization dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. Creative Commons provides free licenses and other legal tools to give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions and get credit for their creative work while allowing others to copy, distribute and make specific uses of it. Donations to support Creative Commons work can be made at https://creativecommons.net/donate/ and also by contacting development@creativecommons.org.

Contact
Christopher Allan Webber
Senior Software Engineer
Creative Commons
+1 (773) 614 2279
cwebber@creativecommons.org

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users’ right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software — particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants — and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF’s work can be made at http://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

Contact
Joshua Gay
Campaigns Manager
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942
campaigns@fsf.org

About OpenGameArt

OpenGameArt.org was founded in 2009 for the purpose of archiving art for use in free and open source games. Since then, OGA has grown into a vibrant community of artists and developers who are passionate about games and free culture. You can join the community or explore by visiting http://opengameart.org/.

Contact
Bart Kelsey
Founder, OpenGameArt.org
bart@opengameart.org

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World Bank stakes leadership position by announcing Open Access Policy and launching Open Knowledge Repository under Creative Commons

Diane Peters, April 10th, 2012

The World Bank has announced a new Open Access Policy! Effective July 1, 2012, the Open Access Policy requires that all research outputs and knowledge products published by the Bank be licensed Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY) as a default. Today, as the first phase of this policy is unfolded, the Bank launched a new Open Knowledge Repository with more than 2,000 books, articles, reports and research papers under CC BY. President of the World Bank Group, Robert B. Zoellick, said in the press release:

“Knowledge is power. Making our knowledge widely and readily available will empower others to come up with solutions to the world’s toughest problems. Our new Open Access policy is the natural evolution for a World Bank that is opening up more and more.”

CC BY is the most permissive Creative Commons license, allowing others to reuse, remix and redistribute works, even commercially, as long as attribution is given to the copyright holder. It is recommended for those seeking maximum dissemination and re-use of their materials while preserving copyright. We applaud the World Bank for its leadership and embracing this objective by incorporating CC as the framework for its Open Access Policy.

Lawrence Lessig, Board member and co-founder of Creative Commons, says,

“The World Bank is not only leading by embracing the principles of open access. But by making its works available under a CC BY license, it is encouraging the widest spread of the knowledge it is producing. This work is incredibly valuable in assuring access to knowledge universally, and not just at elite universities.”

The Open Access Policy reinforces scholarship norms. The terms require that publishing embargoes are respected and research is made available under CC BY. The Bank “expects the amount of time it takes for externally published Bank content to be included in its institutional repository to diminish over time” and that the working paper versions of journal articles will be made available under CC BY without any embargo period. Additionally, the CC BY policy only applies to works published by the Bank. Works published by third party publishers will be made available in the repository under CC BY-NC-ND, with the option of CC BY should the publisher choose.

All of this content will be aggregated via the Open Knowledge Repository, which has been built with an eye toward maximizing interoperability, discoverability, and reusability by complying with Dublin Core metadata standards and the Open Archives Initiatives protocol for metadata harvesting:

“The repository will be fully interoperable with other major international repositories such as RePEc (Research Papers in Economics), SSRN and Economists Online. This means that the World Bank publishes just once in its own Open Knowledge Repository while its research is also “harvested” and made openly available through many other searchable online repositories, increasing the number of people able to find World Bank content.”

Currently, the repository contains books and papers from 2009-2012 in various fields and from all around the world, including the World Development Report and two World Bank journals, the World Bank Economic Review (WBER) and the World Bank Research Observer (WBRO). The Bank will continue to add new and old content, including those works published prior to 2009, and beginning in 2012, the Bank will include links to research-related datasets.

To learn how this exciting new move builds on the Bank’s other open efforts, read the press release.

For more info on the Open Access Policy, read the policy. For more info on the Open Knowledge Repository, see the feature article and FAQ.

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Nature Publishing Group releases publication data for more than 450,000 articles via CC0

Jane Park, April 5th, 2012

The Public, West Bromwich – Welcome to The Public Entrance Free
Ideal Knot final rendering / Matt Biddulph / CC BY-SA

Yesterday, Nature Publishing Group announced the launch of a new linked data platform, providing access to “20 million Resource Description Framework (RDF) statements, including primary metadata for more than 450,000 articles published by NPG since 1869. The datasets include basic citation information (title, author, publication date, etc) as well as NPG specific ontologies.” All datasets are published using the CC0 public domain dedication, which is not a license, but a legal tool that may be used by anyone wishing to permanently surrender the copyright and database rights (where they exist) they may have in a work, thereby placing it as nearly as possible into the public domain.

This is an excellent move by NPG, especially following an opinion piece they published in 2009 explicitly recommending open sharing and the use of CC0 to put data in the public domain, entitled, “Post-publication sharing of data and tools”:

“Although it is usual practice for major public databases to make data freely available to access and use, any restrictions on use should be strongly resisted and we endorse explicit encouragement of open sharing, for example under the newly available CC0 public domain waiver of Creative Commons.”

Many more organizations and institutions are using CC0 to release their data, which you can peruse at our wiki page for CC0 uses with data and databases. CC licenses are also used for data; read more about this and other issues plus an FAQ on CC and data at http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Data.

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CC News: Version 4.0 — CC License draft ready for public comment

Jane Park, April 4th, 2012

Stay up to date with CC news by subscribing to our weblog and following us on Twitter.

Version 4.0 — CC License draft ready for public comment!

We are pleased to post for public comment the first discussion draft of version 4.0. This draft is the product of an extended (and unprecedented) requirements gathering period involving input from CC affiliates, community and stakeholders. Thanks to all of you who contributed your valuable time and energy in the policy discussions and drafting sessions in support of this draft. We crafted this first draft (v4.0d1) mindful of the overarching design goals first articulated at the 2011 Global Summit:

  • Producing a 4.0 suite that addresses pressing challenges of important adopters, including those in countries where localized version of CC licenses have not existed, and never may, for any number of reasons;
  • Maximizing interoperability, reducing license proliferation and promoting standardization where possible; and
  • Longevity and ease of use.

Read more.

arthur c clarke
Still from ARTHUR C CLARKE PREDICTS THE INTERNET
provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
CC BY-SA

Australian Broadcasting Corporation releases archival news footage under CC BY-SA

CC Australia has announced that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia’s largest public broadcaster and news service, has used Wikimedia Commons to release a selection of historically significant television news stories under CC BY-SA. While other news broadcasters are also making material available under CC licenses, what makes this project significant is that the news segments that have been released aren’t obscure archival material or raw footage, but rather polished stories broadcast by some of the ABC’s premier current affairs programs about major events in Australian history. It includes, for example, news reports on the Apollo 11 moon landings, the Azaria Chamberlain case, and the floating of the Australian currency. Not to mention this 1974 footage of Arthur C. Clarke predicting the internet, with uncanny accuracy. Read more.

National Libraries of Spain and Germany, and Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt Museum open up their data using CC0

CC0 has been getting lots of love in the last couple months in the realm of data, specifically GLAM data (GLAM as in Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums). The national libraries of Spain and Germany have released their bibliographic data using the CC0 public domain dedication tool. For those of you who don’t know what that means, it means that the libraries have waived all copyrights to the extent possible in their jurisdictions, placing the data effectively into the public domain. Relatedly, the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt Museum, a major design museum in New York, has released the collection data for 60% of its documented collection into the public domain, also using CC0. Read more.

In other news:

  • We are hiring for a variety of positions, including Regional Project Managers for Africa and the Asia-Pacific, community support interns, Counsel, Communications Manager, and a Senior Accountant. See all of the awesome opportunities to work with Creative Commons!
  • In more CC data news, we are pleased to announce that the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research has developed an open data portal under CC BY.
  • GoodSemester, a new learning platform geared toward academic productivity, enabled note sharing, copying and remixing under CC BY-SA.
  • Lastly, we urge you to check out our revised CC education page, and contribute to the OER policy registry we are working hard to create. This registry will be a place for policymakers and open advocates to easily share and update OER legislation, OER institutional policies, and supporting OER policy resources.

Banner photo: "The Public, West Bromwich – Welcome to The Public Entrance Free" / ell brown / CC BY / cropped

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Version 4.0 – License Draft Ready for Public Comment!

Diane Peters, April 2nd, 2012

The Public, West Bromwich – Welcome to The Public Entrance Free
“The Public, West Bromwich – Welcome to The Public Entrance Free” / ell brown / CC BY

We are pleased to post for public comment the first discussion draft of version 4.0. This draft is the product of an extended (and unprecedented) requirements gathering period involving input from CC affiliates, community and stakeholders. Thanks to all of you who contributed your valuable time and energy in the policy discussions and drafting sessions in support of this draft.

We crafted this first draft (v4.0d1) mindful of the overarching design goals first articulated at the 2011 Global Summit:

  • Producing a 4.0 suite that addresses pressing challenges of important adopters, including those in countries where localized version of CC licenses have not existed, and never may, for any number of reasons;
  • Maximizing interoperability, reducing license proliferation and promoting standardization where possible; and
  • Longevity and ease of use.

We have also been mindful of supporting those for whom version 3.0 is working well. We will continue efforts to ensure those constituents are aware of our support throughout this process and our eagerness to see those implementations thrive.

We’ve documented and discussed all of these at length, and are excited to hear back from our community on how we can still better accomplish these goals. Here are some highlights of the major policy and drafting choices reflected in the draft, as well issues on which we would especially value your input. Join the discussion!

Database rights

As anticipated, the license fully licenses database rights on the same terms and conditions as copyright and neighboring rights. We have heard no compelling reason for reversing course on this new policy, and all early feedback suggests this is a welcomed change despite questions about their utility. We have taken care to ensure that the license only applies where permission is needed and the licensor holds those rights.

Other copyright-like rights

Rights beyond copyright and neighboring rights are more complicated, however. We know from our community that other sui generis, copyright-like rights exist and more have been or will be proposed. These include press publisher rights in Germany and catalogue rights in Nordic countries. We remain concerned that these “ancillary rights” (the term coined for use in the draft) could undermine or interfere with expected uses of the licensed work, much as sui generis database rights (and their treatment in 3.0 and its ports) have vexed CC licensors and licensees in Europe for years.

We have taken the approach in this first draft of requiring waiver of those ancillary rights, but only if possible and then only to the extent necessary to allow the work to be used as intended under the license. (These ancillary rights do not include the traditional group of rights long excluded from CC licenses and reserved to licensors, such as trademark, privacy and personality rights, and similar.) We look to our community for input on this important policy choice.

Moral rights

Treatment of moral rights is the other central policy issue addressed in this draft. In 3.0 (unported) and a rough majority of the 3.0 ports, moral rights are generally reserved and unaffected by the license. Yet in other ports, those rights are reserved only where they cannot be waived, suggesting the licensor is waiving those rights where possible, and possibly without limitation. The difference is nuanced but not trivial, and merits consideration.

For purposes of this first draft, we have chosen a middle ground: where waiver is possible, a limited waiver (or non assert) is granted to allow the work to be used as otherwise permitted by the license. For all other purposes (or where a waiver or non assert is not permitted), those rights are fully reserved. This proposal draws heavily from the proposal made for 3.01, and is intended to re-start the discussion for 4.0 where that discussion left off. We look forward to hearing the views of our community on this proposal as well.

Proposals under development

A few policy decisions are still under consideration and will benefit from further public discussion before formal proposals are made. To the extent these decisions involve existing terms in 3.0, we have [bracketed] related provisions in the draft. These include technical protection measures and the definition of NonCommercial. On the former, discussion during the requirements gathering period was robust and productive, but not conclusive on any approach. We plan to use a portion of this public discussion period to curate use cases that will inform a formal proposal. Ideally, these use cases will be based on demonstrated needs (or lack thereof) by licensees for a change from the prohibition in 3.0. As for NonCommercial, more discussion is necessary if any of the current proposals or arguments for changing that definition are to be advanced. Consequently, we have left the definition unchanged in this first draft. On both of these issues, look for prompts from us on the license discussion list and this blog, and please contribute your voice to the discussion.

Other features

The draft license has several new features deserving of attention and your feedback. Attribution and marking requirements are now centralized in a single location and clarified for ease of understanding and compliance. The collecting society provision is dramatically simplified, though operating in the same spirit as in 3.0. Overall, we have strived to simplify, better organize, internationalize and enhance usability whenever possible. We welcome your ideas for making this license still better in these respects and more.

We need your input!

One of our highest priorities is to ensure to the extent possible that the 4.0 licenses work seamlessly in as many jurisdictions, and for as many constituents, as possible. Please help us identify provisions that could be improved to operate better in your locale and for the communities of CC adopters you care about.

We have updated the 4.0 wiki with a special page dedicated to this first draft, where you can find the full draft of BY-NC-SA and a detailed chart comparing this draft to version 3.0, among other resources. The primary discussion forum continues to be the license-discuss list. We look forward to hearing from you!

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